Woman Spends 12 Years Saving Up Money to Get Her Brother Married

A Chinese woman recently sparked controversy online after claiming that she has spent the last 12 years of her life trying to raise enough money to ensure that her brother finds a bride.

It’s no secret that securing a bride in China is harder than in most other countries. One of the unexpected effects of the Asian country’s notorious one-child policy was gender inequality. For decades, many couples, especially in rural regions, aimed for boys, turning to sex-selective abortion and even infanticide to make sure that their only child was a boy. Males were strong enough to work and more likely to be successful enough to look after their elderly parents later on in life. Only that created a serious gender inequality in China, with more bachelors for every single woman, which makes it very difficult for men to secure a bride. So in some cases, their families offer them financial support, to increase their chances of finding a suitable bride.

But to truly understand the need for financial support in what is considered a matter of the heart, we need to talk about ‘bride price‘. This longstanding Chinese tradition of the groom’s family having to offer gifts to the bride’s family in exchange for her hand has changed significantly over the last few decades. In the ’60s and ’70s, modest gifts like bedding were the norm, then in the ’80s it was household electronics like TVs and refrigerators, but since the economic boom that started in the 1990s, things escalated to the point where bride prices are now paid in cash, cars and houses.

Bachelors from poor families have such low chances of finding a bride, that some regions are resorting to importing young women from neighboring countries, but some families are so determined to see their single men find a bride the old-fashioned way that they sacrifice their own lives in the process. Case in point, a 33-year-old woman from Anhui province, in eastern China who reportedly dedicated the last 12 years of her life to making sure her brother has enough wealth to secure a wife.

The unnamed woman told Miaowen Video that she had been running a small restaurant specializing in Chinese pancakes with a monthly turnover of 100,000 yuan ($14,000). But instead of using the profits on herself over the last 12 years, she had invested in a 129 sq meter home and a new car for her brother, and she had also gifted him her restaurant…

Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

“I will think about myself after my brother gets married, my wedding can wait,” the single woman said. “Over the past four years or so, I have been so stingy, even when buying new clothes for myself.”

The woman said she hadn’t gotten a house for herself yet, reitterating that her brother was the priority and that she would have more time to worry about herself after he got married. As you can imagine, her views sparked a heated debate on Chinese social media, with the vast majority of people expressing their pity for her, and some even accusing her of setting a bad example.

“Is her brother unable to work or something? This is unfair on the poor sister!” one person commented.

“The more she gives to her brother, the more her brother may take it for granted,” someone else wrote.

In response to all the criticism, the woman simply said that people didn’t know what her family went through over the years so they couldn’t understand her motives.

“Everyone’s life is different. They may not have experienced hardships like we did during our childhood, so it’s normal not to be understood,” she said.

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